26/11/2018 07:54 AST

Qatar and Canada bilateral trade volume is expected to witness sharp growth in 2018 and beyond as both sides are working very actively to deepen and expand bilateral cooperation in almost all fields, including economics, trade, investment and diplomacy, noted a top Canadian diplomat in Qatar at an event.

Although the bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Canada is modest at C$174m (about QR480m) but there is a huge untapped potential to enhance economic and commercial ties in a variety of sectors. In addition, both sides are also working for exchange of delegations, including high-level political visits between Qatar and Canada.

“There is a renewed interest and enthusiasm on both sides to strengthen economic, commercial and diplomatic ties between Canada and Qatar. We are also working to have exchange of high-level political visits which will help pave the way for expanding cooperation,” said Stefanie McCollum, Canada’s Ambassador to Qatar.

McCollum, addressing the members of the Canadian Business Council Qatar (CBCQ), added: “One of the key priorities of our embassy is to grow commercial ties between the two countries. We aim to do this by supporting our Canadian companies and creating the conditions to allow them to succeed and for others to join this market.”

She defined the Qatar-Canada relationship “very strong” which have enjoyed uninterrupted diplomatic ties since 1974. “We have a robust relationship across the commercial, economic, political and cultural spheres,” the envoy added hailing Qatar’s remarkable achievements despite the economic siege imposed by the Arab quartet.

“Faced with a diplomatic and economic blockade imposed by its neighbours, Qatar has emerged stronger. It has diversified trade routes, established new trading partners, build domestic capabilities in strategic sectors, such as agriculture, and have overcome unimaginable obstacles, while maintaining peace, security, and stability for its citizens and residents — a commendable feat by any measures.” Canadian companies have been active for many years in Qatar, and have contributed to Qatar’s phenomenal development.

Currently the size of the Canadian community in the country is over 9,000 people, who are working in a wide range of sectors, including oil and gas, infrastructure, health and education. A lot of Canadian companies are also involved in implementing projects related to 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar National Vision 2030.

The bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Canada is likely to grow significantly in the coming years with the commercial ties between the two countries expanding rapidly.

For instance, just over a week ago, Qatar Airways announced to introduce an additional weekly flight (its fourth weekly service to Canada) to its Doha-Montreal route from December 17, 2018, providing even more flexibility for both business and leisure passengers.

Reiterating about the fast growing relations, the envoy said that there are regular visits of Canadian companies, athletes, academics to Qatar. Recently, representatives from about 25 Canadian universities visited Doha.

And also there are regular flow of Qatari officials, business people, tourists and students back to Canada. “I hope that flow will increase in the coming days as Canada recently offered Qatar Airways an additional flight to Canada, which will further accelerate the pace of bilateral cooperation. And we are very excited about it,” said McCollum.

The welcome reception, organised by the CBCQ for Ambassador McCollum, was attended by a large number of business executives, including Ahmed Hafez, Vice-Chairman and Founding Member, and Jeffery Asselstine, Treasurer and Founding Member of CBCQ, and senior diplomats.

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